LCRA, Bluebonnet Co-op award $25,000 grant to upgrade St. John Colony School Museum
145-year-old building will get new restrooms, septic system and fencing
May 28, 2020
CALDWELL COUNTY, Texas – The St. John School Museum Board will be able to complete renovations on its nearly 145-year-old historic school building by adding restrooms, a new septic system and more, thanks to a $25,000 grant from the Lower Colorado River Authority and Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative.
The Community Development Partnership Program grant, along with $14,010 in matching contributions, will support the St. John School Restoration Project as it finishes renovations and opens the St. John School Museum housed in the former school building.
The museum will display artifacts and provide historical information about the St. John community, which was founded by freedmen in the 1870s. The grounds will provide a space for picnics, recreation and sports.
In addition to new restrooms and a septic system, the grant also will provide new fencing and additional storage space at the museum.
Board President Edna Rayford was a student at the school some 73 years ago. She began fundraising efforts three years ago to preserve the school for future generations.
“The school was closed down in 1963 or 1964 and it’s been sitting there all these years,’’ she said. “It was falling apart. The school is so important and it means so much to me. If we lose it there will be nothing left to tell our story.”
The museum will be used for educational tours, public outreach and community meetings. It will be open throughout the year upon request, including for the community’s annual Juneteenth celebration, which has drawn more than 1,000 visitors.
Rayford said there has been significant community interest in having the school restored and its historical significance documented and remembered.
“This grant is going to help us move a little faster to accomplish our goal,” she said. “This place has meant so much to the people who lived through that time.”
The community grant is one of 28 grants awarded recently through LCRA’s Community Development Partnership Program, which provides economic development and community assistance grants to cities, counties, volunteer fire departments, regional development councils and other nonprofit organizations in LCRA’s wholesale electric and water service areas. The program is part of LCRA’s effort to give back to the communities it serves. Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative is one of LCRA’s wholesale electric customers and a partner in the grant program.
Applications for the next round of grants will be accepted July 1-31. More information is available at lcra.org/cdpp.
The Lower Colorado River Authority serves customers and communities throughout Texas by managing the lower Colorado River; generating and transmitting electric power; providing a clean, reliable water supply; and offering outdoor adventures at more than 40 parks along the Colorado River from the Texas Hill Country to the Gulf Coast. LCRA and its employees are committed to fulfilling our mission to enhance the quality of life of the Texans we serve through water stewardship, energy and community service. LCRA was created by the Texas Legislature in 1934 and receives no state appropriations. For more information, visit lcra.org.
Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative is one of the largest electric cooperatives in Texas and has been providing power to its members since 1939. Bluebonnet serves more than 105,000 meters, and owns and maintains 12,000 miles of power lines, located across more than 3,800 square miles within 14 Central Texas counties. Bluebonnet’s service area stretches from Travis County to Washington County, and from Milam County to Gonzales County. For more information about Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative, go to bluebonnet.coop and follow the co-op on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
LCRA: Clara Tuma
Bluebonnet: Will Holford